When I hear “Moroccan restaurant,” I think of waiters in fezzes and embroidered vests, belly dancers, exotic over-the-top decor and eating with my hands. Tagine in Beverly Hills has none of these things and is all the better for it. Instead of the typical Disney-esque tourist treatment of a Moroccan dining experience, you get the kind of meal that I could see served in the home of a wealthy and cultured family in Tangier or Marrakech.
Tagine, which is co-owned by actor Ryan Gosling, is upscale and incredibly romantic; the ultimate date spot if you’re looking to score. It’s intimate, beautifully understated and dimly lit. Parties of two sit side by side.
As for the food, talented chef Abdessamad “Ben” Benameur elevates classic Moroccan dishes and serves cuisine which is highly refined and across-the-board excellent. I highly recommend going with the tasting menu. Whether you do or not, your meal starts with a tray of amuse-bouches which often include cups of asparagus soup, vegetable cigars and spoons of goat cheese with dates. The homemade hummus with freshly baked Berber bread and the tomato and cucumber tartar topped with lemon sorbet and raspberries should not be missed. I also love the bastilla with buttery, crispy phyllo dough atop a mixture of Cornish hen, scrambled eggs, saffron and sugar, as well as the tender and juicy lamb chops marinated in Moroccan seven spices.
The best is saved for last: a life-altering rich chocolate soup with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, accompanied by sticky and sweet baklava. It’s one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve ever eaten; right up there with the Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity in NYC.
Tagine is located at 132 N. Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills.